Introducing the wonderful board members and volunteers who do so much for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers is one of the missions of this blog. This month we shine the Spotlight on Wendy Howard who works behind the scenes to inform and educate writers at all levels, whether they belong to RMFW or not. Her job is neverending. Thanks, Wendy. We couldn't have brought this blog online without you.
1. Tell us what you do for RMFW and why you are involved.
I do a number of things for RMFW, my main job being Website Liaison. I’m a long-time computer geek, and serving as Website Liaison gives me something fun to do when I need a break from writing and editing. If you have any questions or suggestions for the website, contact me at email@example.com.
I’m also a member of the Publicity team. I prepare and distribute email communications twice a week to remind everyone about events, classes and such. If you have a new release or event to promote, email the details to firstname.lastname@example.org. Time permitting, I’ll include your announcement in an email.
And I recently set up our new RMFW Google+ community. I help run the page with other members of the Publicity team. Be sure to join us at https://plus.google.com/communities/104404222760779325232.
2. What is your current WIP or most recent publication, and where can we buy a book, if available? (Feel free to attach photos of book covers—platform opportunity time!)
My current work in progress is a re-work in progress. Heavy sigh! The first in The Courier series, Call for Obstruction won an award in 2009 and was published by a small press late 2011. Unfortunately, the publisher went out of business and returned my book shortly after it was published. Instead of being upset about losing a publishing contract, I decided to take advantage of the situation and restore the book to the short length I originally intended it to be. That meant cutting out 150 pages, one of the hardest editing task I’ve ever tackled. It’s almost done, and I’m hoping to self-publish it in April. My long-term goal is to find another agent and editor and do the traditional publishing thing with it again.
3. We've all heard of bucket lists-- you know, those life-wish lists of experiences, dreams or goals we want to accomplish-- what's one of yours?
Go on an archeological dig anywhere in South America, but if I do it, I'll probably never come back to the U.S.
4. Most writers have an Achilles heel with their writing. Confess, what's yours?
I’ve been a professional writer for over 25 years and I still struggle to call a work complete. I want to edit to perfection and there really is no such thing.
5. What do you love most about the writing life?
Developing a new story from an idea, especially inventing the characters and creating new worlds or planets. I also enjoy research and writing the first draft.
6. Now that you have a little writing experience, what advice would you go back and give yourself as a beginning writer?
Don’t be in a hurry to publish. Learn the craft and be cautious with editors, publishers, and other writers. Over the last five years, I’ve worked with and managed small presses, and have moderated online networking communities for writers and filmmakers. While I've met some of the most amazing people, I can also tell you quite a few horror stories. Join a writer’s organization like RMFW. Being a part of a community is an important step to becoming a better writer and protecting yourself against predators in the publishing industry.
7. What does your desk look like? What item must be on your desk? Do you have any personal, fun items you keep on it? (Include a picture of your work area, if possible)
I move around a lot while writing and editing, and work outside as much as I can during warm months. There’s just something about a change of scenery that stimulates my imagination. I do have an office and on my desk are my idols: Jesus and Abraham Lincoln. Whenever the going gets tough, I sit back and look to them for inspiration. And every now and then I rub the Laughing Buddha’s belly for a little luck.
8. What book are you currently reading (or what was the last one you read)?
I just finished Faith on the Rocks by fellow RMFW member Liesa Malik. I attend the Southwest Critique Group with Liesa when I can and sat in on a few critique sessions for Faith on the Rocks. I bought her book at conference last year and had her sign it. I really enjoyed the read, probably more so for knowing a little about the blood sweat and tears Liesa put into her baby.
I’m also reading Extreme Fear: The Science of Your Mind in Danger by Jeff Wise. A very interesting read, and one I’d suggest any writer read. Halfway through the book I’ve learned better ways to torture characters and describe their panicked reactions.
You can also find me on my website, @by_wjhoward, Google+, and sometimes on Facebook.